Monteriggioni is a medieval walled town, located on a natural hillock, built by the Sienese in 1214–19 as a front line in their wars against Florence, by assuming command of the Via Cassia running through the Val d’Elsa and Val Staggia to the west.
During the conflicts between Siena and Florence in the Middle Ages, the city was strategically placed as a defensive fortification. It also withstood many attacks from both the Florentines and the forces of the Bishop of Volterra. In 1554 the Sienese were able to place control of the town’s garrison to Giovannino Zeti, who had been exiled from Florence. In 1554, in an act of reconciliation with the Medicis, Zeti simply handed the keys of the town over to the Medicean forces— considered a “great betrayal” by the town’s people.
The roughly circular walls, totalling a length of about 570 metres (1,870 ft) and following the natural contours of the hill, were built between 1213 and 1219. There are 14 towers on square bases set at equidistance, and two portals or gates. One gate, the Porta Fiorentina opens toward Florence to the north, and the other, the Porta Romana, faces Rome to the south. The main street within the walls connects the two gates in a roughly straight line.
The main town square, the Piazza Roma, is dominated by a Romanesque church with a simple, plain façade. Other houses, some in the Renaissance style (once owned by local nobles, gentry, and wealthy merchants) face into the piazza. Off the main piazza smaller streets give way to public gardens fronted by the other houses and small businesses of the town. In more hostile times, these gardens provided vital sustenance when enemies gathered around the walls during sieges.
Other sights in the town’s countryside include:
- Badia of Santi Salvatore e Cirino in Abbadia a Isola, a Romanesque abbey from the mid-12th century
- Romanesque church of San Lorenzo in Colle Ciupi
- Romanesque Pieve of Santa Maria a Castello, known since as early as 971
- Romanesque-Gothic hermitage of San Leonardo al Lago
- Villa Santa Colomba
As with circling round
Of turrets, Monteriggioni crowns his walls;
E’en thus the shore, encompassing the abyss,
Was turreted with giants, half their length
Uprearing, horrible, whom Jove from heaven
Yet threatens, when his muttering thunder rolls.
Monteriggioni also plays a significant role in the games Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, both of which are loosely based around certain key historical events in Renaissance Italy. It is home to protagonist Ezio Auditore and his uncle Mario, who live in the fictional Villa Auditore, which is based on Villa di Maiano.
All information come from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia